European Union Essay

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EU ESSAY QUESTIONS INSTITUTIONS The European Union has been criticized as 'undemocratic'. Critically evaluate the accuracy of this assessment by reference to the composition of the EU institutions and their respective powers in relation to law-making within the EU. You should begin by exploring the meaning of 'undemocratic' or 'democracy'. Definitions may vary, but are likely to include the idea that democracy relates to the engagement of citizens with political and law-making processes. This operates through their right to select and reject, in the electoral process, the persons whom they consider will best represent their interests in formulating law and policy. The answer requires consideration of each of the EU law-making institutions, the European Commission, the Council, and the European Parliament, including their composition and powers. The European Commission: not directly elected by citizens. Describe its composition, how Commissioners are appointed. Next consider the Commission's input into law-making and its power to initiate and draft proposed secondary legislation. You are likely to conclude that the Commission is not democratically appointed but has considerable power in the making of law and policy in the European Union, indicating that its composition and functioning is undemocratic. Consider the changes that would be effected by the Treaty of Lisbon. The Council: not directly elected by citizens. Do citizens nonetheless have some influence over the appointment of members of the Council? Describe the composition of the Council and how Council members are appointed. You might argue that there is an element of democracy in appointment in that the Council comprises ministers of the Member States who in many cases will have been indirectly chosen through national democratic processes. As to the Council's powers in law- and

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